Strikes hurt end-users
This refers to the report ‘Coal India strike likely to be called off today’ (January 8). In any such strike, the common man and the end-users suffer. Coal has consumers including industry and the common man. In my childhood, coal was used as a fuel for cooking. Hawkers also use coal, to cook food they sell. In winter, any disruption in coal supply will affect generation of electricity, and consumers of power will suffer. Our labour laws are all labour-friendly,and do not take into account the hardships such laws cause to end-users and the industry—financial loss. Any outsider can become a leader of a labour union, and can create troubles for companies. Our labour law reforms should begin with banning non-employees indulging in union activities. Also, we should make it mandatory that every worker should have an opportunity to lead the union, and it should not become monopoly of one person or vested interests. There should be flexible labour laws, keeping in view the changing economic conditions. When we talk of labour law reforms, the consumers or the end-users’ welfare should also be taken care of. Why are consumers not considered while drafting labour laws? This is beyond logic. Why the unions do not talk of end-users? The end-users cannot be excluded from labour reforms. When you talk of welfare of workers, then it cannot be a piecemeal solution—end-users also have a locus standi in labour law reforms. Violence has no role in strikes.
Deendayal M Lulla
Rein in fundamentalists
Apropos of the editorial ‘Censoring banners’ (January 3), the religious fundamentalists always find scapegoats in any sort of liberal outpouring from any quarter. Why democracy in USA is so strong can be gleaned from the fact that the various atrocities committed on under-trials by the CIA were revealed in minute details and rightly criticised, something unimaginable in most of the autocratic countries. Here in India, the mindset of average Indians is such that any undertone of criticism of religion whether in film, theatre or art is termed an insult to the religion and hurting the religious sentiments of majority or minority populace. The fundamentalist elements latch on to the issue and then take the lead to create anarchy and social disorder. It is high time that the state governments are firm in dealing with these unruly elements.
Fight vehicular pollution
Apropos of the article ‘Clean up tax sops’ (January 1), such a step would be in the right direction, particularly because the declining fuel price is in itself a stimulus for businesses. The savings from the decline in price of fuel should partly be diverted for upgrading to the environmentally-friendly Bharat Stage V (BS V) standards. Diesel vehicle particulate matter emissions levels won’t fall unless all new vehicles comply with BS V standards. The Saumitra Chaudhuri Committee estimated that upgrading refineries to produce Euro-V equivalent petrol and diesel will need an investment of R80,000 crore. This cost can be met by the 75 paise levy on petrol and diesel, it said. The panel, suggested that auto-makers should meet Euro IV emission norms all over the country by 2017 and Euro V standards by 2020.
MM Gurbaxani, Bangalore
Strikes hurt end-users